Tuesday, September 6, 2016

7 Hours of Savings: Nike Air Jordan 1 Banned

I spent seven hours on Saturday not buying shoes. It was not for the lack of effort, and while I went home empty-handed, I did not go home with an empty soul. That particular distinction goes to the several line-cutters who actually did cop a pair of the hotly sought after Bred Banned 1’s in front of me. Yes, I’m mad about it, but I wasn’t trying to get into a fight over a pair of shoes. Plus, not only did I save $160, I learned it’s entertaining to watch sneakerheads parade thousands of dollars of footwear through the serendipitous pile of shit on Market Street in front of the Sheik sneaker store.

As a polymath and culture hound, the sneaker game presents yet another abyss to spiral down. I use the word abyss for a couple reasons; first, it truly has no end, no bottom, or anything to distinguish relative progress. Sure, there is a collection, but just like any collection, things come and go, and unless you have enough space or are a hoarder, your collection is merely a glimpse into your own specific fetishes. Second, the deeper you get, the less perspective you have on the totality of your experience. There might have been a beginning when you were 10 years old and your mom didn’t buy you those Jordans at a bargain price which can now fund a semester of college, but there certainly seems to be no end now that you can afford to buy your fucking shoes.

Of course, the game is not just about having the snickers. Status is an obvious motivator, but for many sneakerheads like me, it’s about the struggle. It’s about having war-stories about copping drops before the internet and finding gems like cobalt foams at your local Ross dress-for-less. Afterall, it’s the stories that will live on beyond the yellowed icy bottoms, cracked paint, and disintegrating soles. Stories about waiting in line overnight to snag a limited release; Nike SB Dunk High 420 "Cheech & Chong" only 420 made ever. Stories about finding deals; NIB Mambacurials Size 9 with the extra 30% off for fifty bucks at the San Leandro clearance store. Stories that you can share with your kids if you ever get a girlfriend. In the meantime, these stories are pure gold—to pass the hours waiting in line with your fellow sneaker aficionados.

The line on a release day is also a special beast, a hypebeast so to speak. At most retailers, there is a single line for a highly contested release, a line for raffle winners. Yes, like the lottery, not everyone's a winner in the sneaker game. Even the large retailers like Footlocker use a lottery system to dole out the precious few pairs of an anticipated hypebeast-musthave. Those who stand in this line, like Violet Beauregarde, have smug grins that stretch across their greedy little faces. They parade their pairs the length of the other line, if it exists, the line for the have-nots.

This is the First-Come-First-Served Line. This is the line you stand in when you’ve failed to cop your pair online because Finish Line crashed, lost the raffle (or didn’t know raffles for shoes was actually a thing), or was just lazy then realized that you actually wanted to drop two bills on a pair of athletic shoes not made for actual use in sport. The chance to “pay retail” for a celebrated release is a badge of honor, and is, for some, the only way to make sense of the addiction. Like the true addicts, sometimes you buy and sell to fuel the addiction, while also using your supply to show your true prowess in the game while standing in line on a release day.

When you drive a brand new car off the lot, it instantly loses value. In the sneaker game this is called “on-feet.” It is the point they are no longer “deadstock” though there is no real odometer that can say otherwise. Still, if you can cop that extra pair to flip for sometimes up to 3 times the retail price on the same day a shoe is released, you feel far less bad about driving your shoes off the lot. Seems easy enough, win the lottery twice, drop cash on two pairs, sell one, and get your pair “free.” That’s the chase, and the chase is truly enticing.

Of course, sometimes you cop 3 pairs of a prominent release only to find that Nike decided to really pull out the stops on production. Now you have 3 pairs of a shoe that is showing up at Ross, where some dude is freaking his shit like a forty-niner during the gold rush. It’s cool though, again it’s not about the shoes, it’s about the cool stories bro.

At the end of my seven hours, cold, tired, bladder full, waiting in the fumes of human excrement on Market Street in front of the Sheik answering for the 100th time why you’re standing in line, I realized that I didn’t just want these fucking shoes because they’re the fucking coolest shoes I will put into a clear plastic box and never wear, I also wanted the thrill of the hunt. And that I got, I met a bunch of dudes of all ages, races, and creeds, was regaled with stories of victory, defeat, sadness, and elation, and ultimately had one of my own.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rave Run: Russian Gulch

As a Runner's World subscriber, I love the Rave Run column in the Warmup section at the front of the book. Here's a post inspired by the Rave Run:


Jess Hemerly

The Experience

This 6 mile out & back trail in Russian Gulch State Park in Mendocino, California starts with a paved pedestrian path that gives forth to an off-road loop that takes you to Russian Gulch Falls. Once into the redwoods, the canopy provides both a beautiful backdrop and shade for a comfortable run. With only about 800 feet of elevation, the trail is rated moderate and is popular with hikers. The falls make a great hydration and snack stop.

Fast Fact

The name "Russian Gulch" was given to the area by U.S. government surveyors, in honor of the Russian fur trappers who founded Fort Ross fifty miles to the south.

Four-legged Friendly

Dogs are allowed on the trail as long as they are on a leash.

Eat This

The Goodlife Cafe and Bakery in nearby Mendocino makes great local organic fare to feed the post run munchies. They have an incredible gluten-free bread, and some of the best coffee in town.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Shootin' Stuff

I'm generally not a big gun fan, but I took the opportunity to go clay shooting today at Bird's Landing Hunting Preserve & Sporting Clays. I'd never shot a gun before and I was pretty terrified. Jack was a great guide, lent his 28 gauge, single crack barrel to me for the day; the 12 gauge was just a little too long for my arms, but despite it's smaller size, it did nothing to ease my nervousness.

It took me about a dozen shots (and misses) to get over the "surprise" of the gun firing. Again, despite it's smaller size, I still had that momentary dread just before pulling the trigger. I'm not sure what I was dreading; the sound, the recoil, the unexpected. Once over the surprise factor, I could finally focus on trying to actually hit a target. When I hit my first pidgeon and saw its demise at the tip of my gun it was just like I had finally learned to ride a bicycle. It was almost unbelievable and pretty f***ing awesome. Thanks Jack!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

826 BVHM By The Numbers

Now in my 3rd year as a volunteer writing tutor for 826 Valencia at BVHM I still struggle with whether or not I'm actually making any difference. In the day to day of things it can be hard to tell, and sometimes, especially on those rough days, a little disheartening. It's nice to know that when you step back, we are actually making a difference.

Check out this post by Ashley Varady (Program Manager), Christina Perry (Program Director), Lauren Hall (Director of Evaluation), and Bita Nazarian (Executive Director) of 826 Valencia about what we've done for the kids.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Back in 2005, when we didn't know any better, we used to finish the Supermarket Street Sweep at a bar on 16th Street. We used to have the food bank bring donation barrels to the bar that wouldn't come close to handling the amount of food we were bringing in. Even back then, at half the size of the race today, we were still breaking our backs (and butts) to bring in as much food as we could.


Across the street, a Mexican chef was hard at work honing the age-old craft of making sushi. At its height, Tokyo Go-Go was the place to spend your Web 1.0 dollars, and Tim Archuleta was there to feed you. But soon after we started, Tim would leave Tokyo Go-Go to to start a small catering business in Bernal Heights.

By 2011, The Lucky Cat Deli, would grow into Tim's first sushi bar, ICHI. Sustainability and a seasonal focus, along with Tim's modern and vibrant take on some of the world's oldest cuisine made ICHI an immediate neighborhood favorite. The old sushi bar on Godeus is now home to Tim's oyster bar, ICHI Kakiya, and the new, bigger ICHI + NI Bar further down the street is now a busy hub for those looking to eat some of the best fish that graces SF's shores.


I stopped in to have a bite to eat and was lucky enough to get a spot at the bar with ICHI's chef de cuisine Erik Aplin. Erik is not just a skilled master of the craft, but when you're at the bar, he's also just great fun to watch and talk to. His wildly creative taste for everything is not just beautiful but tasty. With their seasonal focus this means you can go to ICHI over and over and always be surprised with what they're serving up. On this night it was a local anchovy, fried to perfection, eaten whole. It was, among the stable of other delights, a seasonal treat that I could have eaten a few dozen of.

Not The Average Anchovy

This is perhaps all just a long, tasty way of saying that the generous folks over at ICHI have given this year's SMSW10 WINNERS $200 worth of gift certificates to ICHI + NI Bar and $100 to ICHI Kakiya. Thank you Tim and Erin Archuleta!


Monday, October 5, 2015


I can't believe I've been doing this for 10 years. This is longer than any job I've ever held down.